Everybody loves the trailer. (Yes, that trailer.) But over at the Weekly Standard, Jonathan Last’s “The Case for the Empire” reads like a college magazine cover story–offering a soon-to-be-overshared argument for why Darth Vader and the Emperor were ultimately in the intergalactic public interest. Wow.
In all of the time we spend observing the Rebel Alliance, we never hear of their governing strategy or their plans for a post-Imperial universe. All we see are plots and fighting. Their victory over the Empire doesn’t liberate the galaxy–it turns the galaxy into Somalia writ large: dominated by local warlords who are answerable to no one.Which makes the rebels–Lucas’s heroes–an unimpressive crew of anarchic royals who wreck the galaxy so that Princess Leia can have her tiara back.
And in another universe far, far away (on Twitter) Bill Kristol has unleashed his own forces–promoting the theory to much acclaim (and retwittering.)
But beyond just a frame-by-frame review, this is a delicious discussion thread for adults/international relations wonks (not just geeks and nerds). Join forces with the the debate, because it’s on:
So I’ll take the nostalgia—though Bill Kristol’s crackpot take on the Empire might help define nostalgia’s limits. Folks, the Empire was not a liberal meritocracy, it was a galactic police state that blew up planets to quell rebellion. This is the kind of damage Lucas did with his prequel films, and the reason fans cheered when Disney bought the rights to the Star Wars franchise for billions. The Star Wars prequels essayed the fall of the Old Republic and the decline of the Jedi Order as plot dressing for its supposed grand arc: the rise of Darth Vader and the Emperor. They existed to justify his original stories, which needed no justification, and even though they portrayed the Republic as being bogged down by bureaucracy, they also paralleled the Empire’s emergence with Hitler’s sweep to power, with the Clone Wars functioning as a kind of Reichstag fire.
Next up? Dan Drezner at WaPo who argues that “the Rebel Alliance’s victory in the Battle of Endor was a catastrophic success” leading to failed nation building efforts–as seen in the new trailer.